Reunion

Ever wonder how to feel older than dirt and younger than springtime all in one weekend? Attend your 50th high school reunion. Standing and talking, standing and laughing, standing and hugging….and more standing….that’s what causes the older than dirt part. But the younger than springtime part? That’s about the delight in seeing friends you’ve not seen in years. It’s about remembering and reconnecting as if a year or ten or fifty hadn’t flown by. It’s about the immediacy of heart relationships that haven’t aged even though, inevitably, our bodies have.

We’ve spent nearly a year creating a Facebook Class of ’62 Reunion Group page, gathering accurate addresses, reserving an event center, caterer, and photographer, sending out invitations, depositing reservation checks, whittling down a substantial missing list to less than twenty-five (out of a class of 516), and, sadly, watching the “In Memoriam” list grow. We’ve spent nearly a year wondering who would come, and who wouldn’t, scanning yearbook photos on name badges so we could recognize one another, and wondering what classmates would remember about us, if anything.

I received an email from one fellow who bluntly said, “NO, not coming to that! How the hell did you find me?” That opening was followed by a mixed recounting of his life and finished with the lingering hurt of a sixth grade encounter with one of our classmate. I responded with a similar encounter and asked a few reminiscing questions. Over the next ten days, Perry and I had our own progressively more pleasant mini reunion as we swapped stories, compared notes, and reconnected him with friends.

As the primary contact person for the reunion, I’ve had the privilege of hearing lots of stories – brief bios of the last fifty years. Chief among the details has been the sad impact Vietnam had on the lives and marriages of many returning vets. On a brighter note, many of our classmates have had, and  continue to work in, very meaningful careers and volunteer opportunities. We are, and have been, educators, doctors, nurses,  therapists, financial investors, journalists, teamsters, substance abuse counselors, artists, accountants, pastors, recreational therapists, contractors, land developers, secretaries, shop keepers, engineers, appraisers, homemakers, parents and partners. We’ve been a busy, productive bunch. We’ve gathered enough stories to write a novel called The Class of ’62, but you wouldn’t want to turn it into fiction. The truth is too compelling.

Born toward the end of World War II, the Class of ’62 came of age during the golden era of Father Knows Best and the nation’s youthful yearnings for the  Beach Boys’ California Dreaming. We lived the life songwriters wrote about and film makers made – shared surfboards strapped to a dad’s Ford station wagon, beach parties and bonfires, catching waves off C Street at Surfers Point frequently on foggy summer days, cruising Main Street from the Mission to Merle’s, ditch days and dating drama. We led lives not unscarred by hurts and sorrows, but generationally marked with an  innocence edged with incandensence. We believed that the future we would embrace and the history we would write was white hot. It was fun to stir those embers, to rekindle the flame of a far-gone time, and bask in the warmth of good memories and dear friends. Friends who will always be younger than springtime. Even if we’re older than dirt.

If you’ve reconnected with long time friends or family, what are some of your fondest memories? How would you summarize the generation you grew up in? If you were to create a poem or picture to capture that time, what would you create? Who came to mind that you haven’t thought about in years?

 Looking forward to your stories!

 

5 comments to Reunion

  • Karen Mikuls

    What a wonderful description! I think one of the most important things about this 50th reunion in particular, was reconnecting with life-long friends. It feels as if no time has passed what-so-ever. I so enjoyed having two friends stay with me – 4 days of laughter, stories, history, and sharing of life-time emotions and events.

    At this time in our lives, relationships with friends are so important. The friends that we have during that time from junior high through high school are those that know us best, that were there during the times that shaped your life. Reconnecting after so many years means so much. I’m sure that many of these childhood friendships were rekindled and will continue to grow now over emails and travel. Technology has changed everything!

  • ANNA POWELL

    Reminds me of my class reunions. Last one we attended was in 2006–my 60th. Not many of us left, but we enjoyed the time we spent together again in Niagara Falls, NY

  • Helen

    Loved the post Lynne but how I envy you all!
    I grew up in an army family and my history is littered with endless friendships suddenly cut off and never re-connected again as we moved again and again.
    Sadly in my family there was no habit of allowing us to grieve or even acknowledge such losses – lovely to hear of a different reality and the fun you’ve all had reconnecting with a shared past x

  • Robyn

    In July, I mustered up my courage and attended a 30-year reunion for a church youth choir. People came from all over the United States. When the program started, I didn’t recognize the emcee; once I heard his voice, I knew who it was. It was that sort of day. We even had a sermon from our former youth pastor (who hasn’t aged). One woman said she remembered me waving pompoms during one of the musical programs (can she be serious? Did I REALLY do that?)

  • Perry Hudson

    Thanks for all your efforts Lynn.

    Regards, Perry

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